September 20, 2017 The Signal page 21
Football’s struggles continue against Wesley
Photo courtesy of Sports Information Desk
Cowperthwait is part of the offensive line that encountered a tough Wesley defense. By Maximillian C. Burgos Sports Editor
The Lions dropped a conference match at home against the No. 24 Wesley College Wolverines on Saturday, Sept. 16. The Wolverines won 33-0 at Lions Stadium and dropped the Lions’ record to 0-3 this season. Wesley improved to 1-1. The Lions received the ball to start the game. The offense was forced into a three-and-out in quick order, the first of many. Senior quarterback Trevor Osler was heavily pressured during the whole drive and the offense could not get anything going. Wesley managed to block the punt on the fourth down, adding insult to injury. The Lions defense limited the Wolverines to a 34yard field goal attempt that went wide to the right. The
momentum from the stoppage of the Wolverines and the Wolverines’ missed field goal did not translate back to the offense, which for the second time went three and out. The Lions then managed to get a pretty solid punt. Wesley, in quick order, took the ball down field and punched into the end zone with an authoritative running game that would cause the Lions trouble the entire game. However, Wesley struggled to make the extra point, striking the left upright post and deflecting the ball back to the offensive line, hitting a player on the helmet. On their third drive, the Lions started moving the ball more consistently. The offensive line still struggled to aid the run, but senior running back Khani Glover showcased his acting abilities by faking a running back drive that fooled the entire defense, allowing Osler to hit a wide receiver screen to gash the Wesley defense. The Lions yet again stall at the Wolverines 39-yard line. With a well-finessed punt, the Lions managed to pin the Wolverines back on their own 10-yard line, but to no avail as the Wolverines drove the ball 90 yards on three plays to punch it into the end zone in less than a minute and 10 seconds. The Lions fans booed and fell silent as Wesley climbed out to a 13-0 lead towards the end of the first quarter. The only positive to come from the drive was senior defensive back Alshamiere Fields chasing and tackling down Wesley sophomore running back E.J. Lee to prevent a touchdown drive. Lee had ran for 76 yards before. The tackle would be for naught though, since the Wolverines punched it in two plays later on a vicious buck sweep run to the right. Wesley’s lead only climbed from there, capping at 33 in the fourth quarter. The Lions defense was plagued by missed tackles, and their offense faltered with indecision paired with inconsistent line play. Head coach Casey Goff commented on the offensive line play after the game. “I think they are coming along. Obviously, there is progress to be made,” Goff said. “We have to continue to get better on both sides of the ball. I still think it’s a matter of learning new systems and the terminology. If we are going to have any success, the guys up front have to get it done. We have to continue to improve.” Senior offensive lineman Jake Cowperthwait and junior
offensive lineman Ryan Signora also commented on the line’s performance after the game. “Well, they were what we thought they were going to be,” Cowperthwait said. “They were strong kids, quick with the ball and they’re ranked whatever they were ranked for a reason. We have to be better on pass protection and be more physical up front.” “There’s no denying they are a good team,” Signora added. “They have a lot phenomenal athletes out there, but we can’t let that be an excuse for a poor performance. We have to go back and look at the film to fix the problems for upcoming weeks, so we can keep getting better.” The Lions had their opportunities to score during the game. Right before halftime, the Lions offense drove down the field and threatened to score in the red zone. They threw the ball twice, one to sophomore wide receiver Vincent Guckin, who had the ball in his hands in the end zone for a split second before a defender ripped it out. After Osler took a punishing sack, they went for it again right before the clock ran out. Osler delivered a strike to his receiver’s outside shoulder, but the defender managed to make a play on the ball for the defensive stand. Though the Lions were shutout in the game, the team fought hard throughout the entire contest, showing a lot of heart. They kept their heads up the entire time, making nothing too easy for the Wolverines. The Lions also did manage to get some takeaways on defense. Goff spoke about his teams performance. “If we go out and execute, god, if we go out and tackle, this game would be different,” Goff said. “If our kids had the confidence to make plays against a team like this, we could put ourselves in better positions. “We’ve made some personnel changes. A big part is that some people have come back from injury. Today we had guys in positions that we have to make plays. We have to get back to fundamentals.” The Lions fall to 0-3 for the season, but they have shown an immense amount of heart so far this year. They will face off against Salisbury University next Saturday, Sept. 23, at noon at Lions Stadium. Goff expressed confidence in his team and their ability to jump back into the groove of things, but only time will tell.
Lions see both ends of shutouts, drop first conference match By Miguel Gonzalez Sports Editor
After a 3-0 victory against Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham on Wednesday, Sept. 13, the men’s soccer team found themselves on the opposite side of a shutout when they lost 3-0 to the William Paterson University Pioneers at home on Saturday, Sept. 16. The Pioneers scored twice in the first four minutes. When the Pioneers received a corner kick in the first minute, senior midfielder JP Gonzales crossed straight to the net. Junior defensive back Charlie Lizardo jumped on top of Lions defenders and headed in the Pioneers first goal. Then the Pioneers scored again on the next play. Sophomore midfielder Cameron Allen received a pass from freshman midfielder Jordan Rosenblum and ripped a shot into the back of the net. “The team came out flat against the Pioneers,” head coach George Nazario said. “They took advantage and knocked in an early goal.” The men’s soccer team could not counterattack as often as the Pioneers. Pioneers such as sophomore midfielder/defensive back Keysean Brant-Sharp and Gonzales were constantly intercepting passes and winning one-on-one confrontations. In the 25th minute, sophomore midfielder Michael Maltese landed the team’s first shot on goal. Maltese took advantage of a breakaway from the Pioneers defense and shot at the
Dresch battles for possession against the Pioneers. right side of net. However, Pioneers sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Quigley leaped forward and caught the shot for a save. Twelve minutes later, the Pioneers landed their third goal when Allen tapped in a shot to the bottom left of the net. Despite the 3-0 deficit, freshman goalkeeper Michael Kayal recorded two crucial saves in the first half. The Lions were a different team in the second half with more physicality
Miguel Gonzalez / Sports Editor
and aggressiveness. Senior captain forward Michael Kassak set the tone as he ran past Pioneer defenders, secured a cross and shot closely at Quigley. Five minutes later, senior midfielder Kevin Nelan leaped in for a header shot off a corner kick from senior midfielder Peter Dresch. Despite their aggressive play, the Lions offense continued to struggle. In the 57th minute, junior defender Nick Sample
dribbled to an open space at the left side and ripped a hard shot high off the right goal post. “For our offense, it was tough trying to get through the net mainly because of shaky rebounds,” Nazario said. “Our team had a hard time with possession and William Paterson simply knocked off scoring opportunities.” With six minutes remaining, freshman forward Abdullah Afridi laid out another speedy shot at Kingley. The Pioneers immediately countered when sophomore forward Kyle Adams launched a cross to the middle of the Lions penalty box until freshman midfielder Ryan Vazquez slid in and blocked it. The Lions ultimately lost their first conference match against the Pioneers, 3-0. The loss drops the Lions to a 4-3 record. Meanwhile, the Pioneers extend their win streak to six games and record their fifth consecutive shutout. “Our team definitely learned today that soccer is a 90-minute sport,” Nazario said. “Even though we were quickly down by halftime, our team got back on its feet and started defending and taking more opportunities. We will definitely continue this resilient playing into our next match against Drew.” The Lions will remain at home on Wednesday, Sept. 20, as they take on Drew University at Lions Stadium starting at 7:30 p.m. Later on Saturday, Sept. 23, the team will travel to Jersey City, New Jersey, for a conference match against New Jersey City University.
The 09/20/17 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper